In the footsteps of the Széchenyi family

Noble recipes, sweet delicacies!

István Széchenyi, a count born in Vienna, spent part of his childhood in Cenk (Nagycenk) and, contrary to legends, he spoke Hungarian well, although it is true that he would use German more often. In 1815, the "Greatest Hungarian" took over the Cenk estate from his father, which he controlled from Vienna.

In 1834, the city of Sopron ordered and paid for a portrait of the count and his father from Miklós Barabás, one of the most famous painters of the age. This gesture was followed by an even bigger one, in 1835 István Széchenyi was granted the title of honorary citizen of the city of Sopron. The city also won its reward, and the count played an active role in developing the city.

Back then, the last course of aristocratic meals was always some kind of fruit. They bought fruit almost every day. Although sources are not available regarding the family’s desserts, one, the Széchenyi ice cream (nyalat, or lick, as they called it back then in Hungarian) survived, and is often consumed as an enjoyable refreshing summer delicacy.

Széchenyi ice cream

Ingredients: Parfait: 250 ml cold whipped cream, 2 eggs, 750 gr powdered sugar, the scraped meat of 1 stick of vanilla. Rhubarb strawberry stew: 400 gr strawberries, 4 rhubarb stalks, 2 tbsp. powdered sugar, 1 cup white rum (approx. 50 ml).

Preparation: Put the scraped meat of the vanilla stick in a bowl, add the fresh eggs and the powdered sugar, stir with a whisk over steam for a few minutes, then cool it back to room temperature. In another bowl, beat the whipped cream into a hard froth and then gently stir it into the whipped egg white. Scoop the cream into a prepared shape (elongated shaped baking tin) and cover the top with a foil that keeps it fresh. Let it rest in the refrigerator for half an hour, and then put it in the freezer, where it will freeze, for at least 6 hours. Cut the strawberries in four and the rhubarb into 2-3 cm pieces. Cook the rhubarb and half of the strawberry, the sugar and the rum over medium heat, after 10-15 minutes add the other half of the strawberry, and simmer for another 3 minutes. Before serving the parfait, put it back in the fridge for a short time to make it easier to consume, as it will become softer. (The Flavours of the Alpokalja-Fertő Region recipe book)